Flint Hills to spend $750M to reduce emissions

Pipes at Pine Bend refinery
A collection of pipes delivered crude oil at Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount, Minn., on June 2, 2010.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Flint Hills Resources announced plans Thursday to reduce emissions from its Pine Bend refinery in Rosemount.

The upgrades to the crude oil refinery, a major producer of transportation fuel used in Minnesota, are estimated to cost about $750 million. One goal is to decrease the refinery's overall permitted emissions of nitrogen oxide and other pollutants by 500 metric tons per year, the company said.

Flint Hills Resources also plans to install "state-of-the-art technology" that will enable the company to improve energy efficiency.

Last fall, the company completed a $400-millon upgrade to the Pine Bend refinery. Flint Hills incorporated those upgrades after reaching a settlement with two environmental groups.

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"This really builds on that," said Jake Reint, spokesman for Flint Hills Resources. "More than $700 million investments that will again improve our overall efficiency, allow us to produce more of the products the region depends on while lowering some key emissions."

Reint said the project, expected to begin next year, will create about 2,500 new full-time and contract jobs during peak construction.

"We are going to be able to make more of the transportation fuels the region depends on and do it more efficiently and reliably than we do today, without increasing permitted emissions," Geoff Glasrud, Flint Hills Resources vice president of operations and manufacturing manager, said in a statement.

Pine Bend oil refinery, which produces 339,000 barrels of oil per day, currently employs 2,500 workers, of which 1,300 are full-time employees.

The new upgrades are subject to regulatory review and will require approval from the state.

Correction (Feb. 8, 2016): An earlier version of this article misidentified the type of emissions being reduced by the Pine Bend refinery in Rosemount. The emissions being reduced are of nitrogen oxide, which is not a greenhouse gas.